Truth is the beginning of wisdom…


Posted by straight shooter on January 11, 2009 under Abortion, Political, Social Concerns

The electoral wave which swept Democrat Barack Obama into the White House and Democrat majorities into the Senate and the House of Representatives could reshape the bioethical landscape in the United States.

The most obvious issue is abortion. Mr Obama is a strong supporter of a woman’s right to abortion. The leading abortion action group, Planned Parenthood, gave him “100%” on its electoral scorecard. After reviewing Obama’s legislative record, Professor Robert P. George, of Princeton University, wrote a scathing analysis of his views on pro-life issues. His conclusion: “Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.” Obama joins some very serious abortion advocates currently in the house and senate.

Under George W. Bush, a relatively pro-life president, abortion activists felt threatened. On his first day in office he had blocked federal aid to foreign groups that promoted abortion. He appointed two justices to the Supreme Court who apparently took a dim view of Roe v. Wade, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. He signed a ban on partial-birth abortion. His appointees in the Federal bureaucracy tried to thwart sales of emergency contraception to minors and promoted abstinence-only sex education. In Planned Parenthood’s eyes, Bush had declared war.

Nor, before the election, was the situation in all of the 50 states altogether favourable for abortion supporters. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court effectively guaranteed abortion on demand. However, opponents have managed to restrict this in a number of small ways on a state-by-state basis – banning late-term abortions, requiring parental notification, mandatory counselling, restricting health insurance payouts and so on. These form a patchwork of regulation throughout the 50 states.

But with the election of Obama and a Congressional majority which is broadly favourable to abortion rights, all restrictions are likely to vanish … including the ban on partial birth abortion. In 2007, as both sides of the abortion divide remember well, Obama promised Planned Parenthood that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA). This act has been kicking around Congress since 2004, but Obama became a co-sponsor of the Senate version in 2007. The purpose of FOCA is to codify Roe v. Wade, invalidating every restriction on abortion.

The website of the new administration’s transition team reassures abortion activists that Obama “has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.”

Other democrat sponsored bills are raising further questions … Will hospitals which currently refuse to do abortions be threatened with loss of funding? Will health care workers effectively lose the right to conscientious objection in abortion and emergency contraception?